All Random Solved Random Open
21 solved out of 61 shown (show only solved or open)
OPEN - $500
If $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ with $\lvert A\rvert=n$ is such that the subset sums $\sum_{a\in S}a$ are distinct for all $S\subseteq A$ then \[N \gg 2^{n}.\]
Erdős called this 'perhaps my first serious problem'. The powers of $2$ show that $2^n$ would be best possible here. The trivial lower bound is $N \gg 2^{n}/n$, since all $2^n$ distinct subset sums must lie in $[0,Nn)$. Erdős and Moser [Er56] proved \[ N\geq (\tfrac{1}{4}-o(1))\frac{2^n}{\sqrt{n}}.\] A number of improvements of the constant have been given (see [St23] for a history), with the current record $\sqrt{2/\pi}$ first proved in unpublished work of Elkies and Gleason. Two proofs achieving this constant are provided by Dubroff, Fox, and Xu [DFX21], who in fact prove the exact bound $N\geq \binom{n}{\lfloor n/2\rfloor}$.

In [Er73] and [ErGr80] the generalisation where $A\subseteq (0,N]$ is a set of real numbers such that the subset sums all differ by at least $1$ is proposed, with the same conjectured bound. (The second proof of [DFX21] applies also to this generalisation.)

This problem appears in Erdős' book with Spencer [ErSp74] in the final chapter titled 'The kitchen sink'. As Ruzsa writes in [Ru99] "it is a rich kitchen where such things go to the sink".

See also [350].

Additional thanks to: Zachary Hunter
SOLVED - $1000
Can the smallest modulus of a covering system be arbitrarily large?
Described by Erdős as 'perhaps my favourite problem'. Hough [Ho15], building on work of Filaseta, Ford, Konyagin, Pomerance, and Yu [FFKPY07], has shown the answer is no: the smallest modulus must be at most $10^{18}$.

An alternative, simpler, proof was given by Balister, Bollobás, Morris, Sahasrabudhe, and Tiba [BBMST22], who improved the bound on the smallest modulus to $616000$.

Is there a covering system all of whose moduli are odd?
Asked by Erdős and Selfridge (sometimes also with Schinzel). They also asked whether there can be a covering system such that all the moduli are odd and squarefree. The answer to this stronger question is no, proved by Balister, Bollobás, Morris, Sahasrabudhe, and Tiba [BBMST22].

Hough and Nielsen [HoNi19] proved that at least one modulus must be divisible by either $2$ or $3$. A simpler proof of this fact was provided by Balister, Bollobás, Morris, Sahasrabudhe, and Tiba [BBMST22].

Selfridge has shown (as reported in [Sc67]) that such a covering system exists if a covering system exists with moduli $n_1,\ldots,n_k$ such that no $n_i$ divides any other $n_j$ (but the latter has been shown not to exist, see [586]).

Additional thanks to: Antonio Girao
Let $A$ be an infinite set such that there are no distinct $a,b,c\in A$ such that $a\mid (b+c)$ and $b,c>a$. Is there such an $A$ with \[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert}{N^{1/2}}>0?\] Does there exist some absolute constant $c>0$ such that there are always infinitely many $N$ with \[\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert<N^{1-c}?\]

Is it true that \[\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n}<\infty?\]

Asked by Erdős and Sárközy [ErSa70], who proved that $A$ must have density $0$. They also prove that this is essentially best possible, in that given any function $f(x)\to \infty$ as $x\to \infty$ there exists a set $A$ with this property and infinitely many $N$ such that \[\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert>\frac{N}{f(N)}.\] (Their example is given by all integers in $(y_i,\frac{3}{2}y_i)$ congruent to $1$ modulo $(2y_{i-1})!$, where $y_i$ is some sufficiently quickly growing sequence.)

An example of an $A$ with this property where \[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert}{N^{1/2}}\log N>0\] is given by the set of $p^2$, where $p\equiv 3\pmod{4}$ is prime.

For the finite version see [13].

SOLVED - $100
Let $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ be such that there are no $a,b,c\in A$ such that $a\mid(b+c)$ and $a<\min(b,c)$. Is it true that $\lvert A\rvert\leq N/3+O(1)$?
Asked by Erdős and Sárközy, who observed that $(2N/3,N]\cap \mathbb{N}$ is such a set. The answer is yes, as proved by Bedert [Be23].

For the infinite version see [12].

Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
OPEN - $1000
Let $f(n,k)$ be minimal such that every $\mathcal{F}$ family of $n$-uniform sets with $\lvert F\rvert \geq f(n,k)$ contains a $k$-sunflower. Is it true that \[f(n,k) < c_k^n\] for some constant $c_k>0$?
Erdős and Rado [ErRa60] originally proved $f(n,k)\leq (k-1)^nn!$. Kostochka [Ko97] improved this slightly (in particular establishing an upper bound of $o(n!)$, for which Erdős awarded him the consolation prize of \$100), but the bound stood at $n^{(1+o(1))n}$ for a long time until Alweiss, Lovett, Wu, and Zhang [ALWZ20] proved \[f(n,k) < (Ck\log n\log\log n)^n\] for some constant $C>1$. This was refined slightly, independently by Rao [Ra20], Frankston, Kahn, Narayanan, and Park [FKNP19], and Bell, Chueluecha, and Warnke [BCW21], leading to the current record of \[f(n,k) < (Ck\log n)^n\] for some constant $C>1$.

In [Er81] offered \$1000 for a proof or disproof even just in the special case when $k=3$, which he expected 'contains the whole difficulty'. He also wrote 'I really do not see why this question is so difficult'.

The usual focus is on the regime where $k=O(1)$ is fixed (say $k=3$) and $n$ is large, although for the opposite regime Kostochka, Rödl, and Talysheva [KoRoTa99] have shown \[f(n,k)=(1+O_n(k^{-1/2^n}))k^n.\]

Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
OPEN - $500
If $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ is such that $A+A$ contains all but finitely many integers then $\limsup 1_A\ast 1_A(n)=\infty$.
Conjectured by Erdős and Turán. They also suggest the stronger conjecture that $\limsup 1_A\ast 1_A(n)/\log n>0$.

Another stronger conjecture would be that the hypothesis $\lvert A\cap [1,N]\rvert \gg N^{1/2}$ for all large $N$ suffices.

Erdős and Sárközy conjectured the stronger version that if $A=\{a_1<a_2<\cdots\}$ and $B=\{b_1<b_2<\cdots\}$ with $a_n/b_n\to 1$ are such that $A+B=\mathbb{N}$ then $\limsup 1_A\ast 1_B(n)=\infty$.

See also [40].

OPEN - $1000
Let $h(N)$ be the maximum size of a Sidon set in $\{1,\ldots,N\}$. Is it true that, for every $\epsilon>0$, \[h(N) = N^{1/2}+O_\epsilon(N^\epsilon)?\]
A problem of Erdős and Turán. It may even be true that $h(N)=N^{1/2}+O(1)$, but Erdős remarks this is perhaps too optimistic. Erdős and Turán [ErTu41] proved an upper bound of $N^{1/2}+O(N^{1/4})$, with an alternative proof by Lindström [Li69]. Both proofs in fact give \[h(N) \leq N^{1/2}+N^{1/4}+1.\] Balogh, Füredi, and Roy [BFR21] improved the bound in the error term to $0.998N^{1/4}$, which has been further optimised by O'Bryant [OB22] to yield \[h(N)\leq N^{1/2}+0.99703N^{1/4}\] for sufficiently large $N$.

See also [241].

Additional thanks to: Zachary Hunter
Given any infinite set $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ there is a set $B$ of density $0$ such that $A+B$ contains all except finitely many integers.
Conjectured by Erdős and Straus. Proved by Lorentz [Lo54].
Is there a set $A\subset\mathbb{N}$ such that \[\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert = o((\log N)^2)\] and such that every large integer can be written as $p+a$ for some prime $p$ and $a\in A$?

Can the bound $O(\log N)$ be achieved? Must such an $A$ satisfy \[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert}{\log N}> 1?\]

Such a set is called an additive complement to the primes.

Erdős [Er54] proved that such a set $A$ exists with $\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert\ll (\log N)^2$ (improving a previous result of Lorentz [Lo54] who achieved $\ll (\log N)^3$). Wolke [Wo96] has shown that such a bound is almost true, in that we can achieve $\ll (\log N)^{1+o(1)}$ if we only ask for almost all integers to be representable.

The answer to the third question is yes: Ruzsa [Ru98c] has shown that we must have \[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert}{\log N}\geq e^\gamma\approx 1.781.\]

We say that $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ is an essential component if $d_s(A+B)>d_s(B)$ for every $B\subset \mathbb{N}$ with $0<d_s(B)<1$ where $d_s$ is the Schnirelmann density.

Can a lacunary set $A\subset\mathbb{N}$ be an essential component?

The answer is no by Ruzsa [Ru87], who proved that if $A$ is an essential component then there exists some constant $c>0$ such that $\lvert A\cap \{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert \geq (\log N)^{1+c}$ for all large $N$.
OPEN - $500
Is there an infinite Sidon set $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ such that \[\lvert A\cap \{1\ldots,N\}\rvert \gg_\epsilon N^{1/2-\epsilon}\] for all $\epsilon>0$?
The trivial greedy construction achieves $\gg N^{1/3}$. The current best bound of $\gg N^{\sqrt{2}-1+o(1)}$ is due to Ruzsa [Ru98]. (Erdős [Er73] had offered \$25 for any construction which achieves $N^{c}$ for some $c>1/3$.) Erdős proved that for every infinite Sidon set $A$ we have \[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap \{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert}{N^{1/2}}=0,\] and also that there is a set $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ with $\lvert A\cap \{1\ldots,N\}\rvert \gg_\epsilon N^{1/2-\epsilon}$ such that $1_A\ast 1_A(n)=O(1)$.

Erdős and Rényi have constructed, for any $\epsilon>0$, a set $A$ such that \[\lvert A\cap \{1\ldots,N\}\rvert \gg_\epsilon N^{1/2-\epsilon}\] for all large $N$ and $1_A\ast 1_A(n)\ll_\epsilon 1$ for all $n$.

Suppose $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ is such that there are no $k+1$ elements of $A$ which are relatively prime. An example is the set of all multiples of the first $k$ primes. Is this the largest such set?
This was disproved for $k=212$ by Ahlswede and Khachatrian [AhKh94], who suggest that their methods can disprove this for arbitrarily large $k$.

Erdős later asked [Er95] if the conjecture remains true provided $N\geq (1+o(1))p_k^2$ (or, in a weaker form, whether it is true for $N$ sufficiently large depending on $k$).

Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
SOLVED - $500
If $f:\mathbb{N}\to \{-1,+1\}$ then is it true that for every $C>0$ there exist $d,m\geq 1$ such that \[\left\lvert \sum_{1\leq k\leq m}f(kd)\right\rvert > C?\]
The Erdős discrepancy problem. This is true, and was proved by Tao [Ta16], who also proved the more general case when $f$ takes values on the unit sphere.

In [Er81] it is further conjectured that \[\max_{md\leq x}\left\lvert \sum_{1\leq k\leq m}f(kd)\right\rvert \gg \log x.\]

Let the van der Waerden number $W(k)$ be such that whenever $N\geq W(k)$ and $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ is $2$-coloured there must exist a monochromatic $k$-term arithmetic progression. Improve the bounds for $W(k)$ - for example, prove that $W(k)^{1/k}\to \infty$.
When $p$ is prime Berlekamp [Be68] has proved $W(p+1)\geq p2^p$. Gowers [Go01] has proved \[W(k) \leq 2^{2^{2^{2^{2^{k+9}}}}}.\]

In [Er81] Erdős further asks whether $W(k+1)/W(k)\to \infty$, or $W(k+1)-W(k)\to \infty$.

SOLVED - $1000
Let $r_k(N)$ be the size of the largest subset of $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ which does not contain a non-trivial $k$-term arithmetic progression. Prove that $r_k(N)=o(N)$.
Proved by Szemerédi [Sz74]. The best known bounds are due to Kelley and Meka [KeMe23] for $k=3$ (with further slight improvements in [BlSi23]), Green and Tao [GrTa17] for $k=4$, and Leng, Sah, and Sawhney [LSS24] for $k\geq 5$.

See also [3].

Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
OPEN - $500
Let $A\subset (1,\infty)$ be a countably infinite set such that for all $x\neq y\in A$ and integers $k\geq 1$ we have \[ \lvert kx -y\rvert \geq 1.\] Does this imply that \[\liminf \frac{\lvert A\cap [1,x]\rvert}{x}=0?\] Or \[\sum_{x\in A}\frac{1}{x\log x}<\infty,\] or \[\sum_{\substack{x <n\\ x\in A}}\frac{1}{x}=o(\log n)?\] Perhaps even \[\sum_{\substack{x <n\\ x\in A}}\frac{1}{x}\ll \frac{\log x}{\sqrt{\log\log x}}?\]
Note that if $A$ is a set of integers then the condition implies that $A$ is a primitive set (that is, no element of $A$ is divisible by any other), for which the convergence of $\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n\log n}$ was proved by Erdős [Er35], and that $\sum_{n<x}\frac{1}{n}=o(\log x)$ was proved by Behrend [Be35].

In [Er73] mentions an unpublished proof of Haight that \[\lim \frac{\lvert A\cap [1,x]\rvert}{x}=0\] holds if the elements of $A$ are independent over $\mathbb{Q}$.

Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
Let $N(k,\ell)$ be the minimal $N$ such that for any $f:\{1,\ldots,N\}\to\{-1,1\}$ there must exist a $k$-term arithmetic progression $P$ such that \[ \left\lvert \sum_{n\in P}f(n)\right\rvert> \ell.\] Find good upper bounds for $N(k,\ell)$. Is it true that for any $c>0$ there exists some $C>1$ such that \[N(k,ck)\leq C^k?\] What about \[N(k,1)\leq C^k\] or \[N(k,\sqrt{k})\leq C^k?\]
No decent bound is known even for $N(k,1)$. Probabilistic methods imply that, for every fixed constant $c>0$, we have $N(k,ck)>C_c^k$ for some $C_c>1$.
Find the smallest $h(d)$ such that the following holds. There exists a function $f:\mathbb{N}\to\{-1,1\}$ such that, for every $d\geq 1$, \[\max_{P_d}\left\lvert \sum_{n\in P_d}f(n)\right\rvert\leq h(d),\] where $P_d$ ranges over all finite arithmetic progressions with common difference $d$.
Cantor, Erdős, Schreiber, and Straus [Er66] proved that $h(d)\ll d!$ is possible. Van der Waerden's theorem implies that $h(d)\to \infty$. Beck [Be17] has shown that $h(d) \leq d^{8+\epsilon}$ is possible for every $\epsilon>0$. Roth's famous discrepancy lower bound [Ro64] implies that $h(d)\gg d^{1/2}$.
Let $1\leq k<\ell$ be integers and define $F_k(N,\ell)$ to be minimal such that every set $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ of size $N$ which contains at least $F_k(N,\ell)$ many $k$-term arithmetic progressions must contain an $\ell$-term arithmetic progression. Find good upper bounds for $F_k(N,\ell)$. Is it true that \[F_3(N,4)=o(N^2)?\] Is it true that for every $\ell>3$ \[\lim_{N\to \infty}\frac{\log F_3(N,\ell)}{\log N}=2?\]
Erdős remarks the upper bound $o(N^2)$ is certainly false for $\ell >\epsilon \log N$. The answer is yes: Fox and Pohoata [FoPo20] have shown that, for all fixed $1\leq k<\ell$, \[F_k(N,\ell)=N^{2-o(1)}\] and in fact \[F_{k}(N,\ell) \leq \frac{N^2}{(\log\log N)^{C_\ell}}\] where $C_\ell>0$ is some constant.
Let $f_3(n)$ be the maximal size of a subset of $\{0,1,2\}^n$ which contains no three points on a line. Is it true that $f_3(n)=o(3^n)$?
Originally considered by Moser. It is trivial that $f_3(n)\geq R_3(3^n)$, the maximal size of a subset of $\{1,\ldots,3^n\}$ without a three-term arithmetic progression. Moser showed that \[f_3(n) \gg \frac{3^n}{\sqrt{n}}.\]

The answer is yes, which is a corollary of the density Hales-Jewett theorem, proved by Furstenberg and Katznelson [FuKa91].

Let $F(N)$ be the maximal size of $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ which is 'non-averaging', so that no $n\in A$ is the arithmetic mean of at least two elements in $A$. What is the order of growth of $F(N)$?
Originally due to Straus. It is known that \[N^{1/4}\ll F(N) \ll N^{\sqrt{2}-1+o(1)}.\] The lower bound is due to Bosznay [Bo89] and the upper bound to Conlon, Fox, and Pham [CFP23] (improving on earlier bound due to Erdős and Sárközy [ErSa90] of $\ll (N\log N)^{1/2}$).

See also [789].

Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
Find the best function $f(d)$ such that, in any 2-colouring of the integers, at least one colour class contains an arithmetic progression with common difference $d$ of length $f(d)$ for infinitely many $d$.
Originally asked by Cohen. Erdős observed that colouring according to whether $\{ \sqrt{2}n\}<1/2$ or not implies $f(d) \ll d$ (using the fact that $\|\sqrt{2}q\| \gg 1/q$ for all $q$, where $\|x\|$ is the distance to the nearest integer). Beck [Be80] has improved this using the probabilistic method, constructing a colouring that shows $f(d)\leq (1+o(1))\log_2 d$. Van der Waerden's theorem implies $f(d)\to \infty$ is necessary.
Let $G_k(N)$ be such that any set of $N$ integers contains a subset of size at least $G_k(N)$ which does not contain a $k$-term arithmetic progression. Determine the size of $G_k(N)$. How does it relate to $R_k(N)$, the size of the largest subset of $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ without a $k$-term arithmetic progression? Is it true that \[\lim_{N\to \infty}\frac{R_3(N)}{G_3(N)}=1?\]
First asked and investigated by Riddell [Ri69]. It is trivial that $G_k(N)\leq R_k(N)$, and it is possible that $G_k(N) <R_k(N)$ (for example with $k=3$ and $N=14$). Komlós, Sulyok, and Szemerédi [KSS75] have shown that $R_k(N) \ll_k G_k(N)$.
Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
Let $n_1<\cdots < n_r\leq N$ with associated $a_i\pmod{n_i}$ such that the congruence classes are disjoint (that is, every integer is $\equiv a_i\pmod{n_i}$ for at most one $1\leq i\leq r$). How large can $r$ be in terms of $N$?
Let $f(N)$ be the maximum possible $r$. Erdős and Stein conjectured that $f(N)=o(N)$, which was proved by Erdős and Szemerédi [ErSz68], who showed that, for every $\epsilon>0$, \[\frac{N}{\exp((\log N)^{1/2+\epsilon})} \ll_\epsilon f(N) < \frac{N}{(\log N)^c}\] for some $c>0$. Erdős believed the lower bound is closer to the truth.
SOLVED - $250
Let $n\geq 1$ and \[A=\{a_1<\cdots <a_{\phi(n)}\}=\{ 1\leq m<n : (m,n)=1\}.\] Is it true that \[ \sum_{1\leq k<\phi(n)}(a_{k+1}-a_k)^2 \ll \frac{n^2}{\phi(n)}?\]
The answer is yes, as proved by Montgomery and Vaughan [MoVa86], who in fact found the correct order of magnitude with the power $2$ replaced by any $\gamma\geq 1$ (which was also asked by Erdős in [Er73]).
Is there a set $A\subset\mathbb{N}$ such that, for all large $N$, \[\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert \ll N/\log N\] and such that every large integer can be written as $2^k+a$ for some $k\geq 0$ and $a\in A$?
Lorentz [Lo54] proved there is such a set with, for all large $N$, \[\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert \ll \frac{\log\log N}{\log N}N\] The answer is yes, proved by Ruzsa [Ru72]. Ruzsa's construction is ingeniously simple: \[A = \{ 5^nm : m\geq 1\textrm{ and }5^n\geq C\log m\}+\{0,1\}\] for some large absolute constant $C>0$. That every large integer is of the form $2^k+a$ for some $a\in A$ is a consequence of the fact that $2$ is a primitive root of $5^n$ for all $n\geq 1$.

In [Ru01] Ruzsa constructs an asymptotically best possible answer to this question (a so-called 'exact additive complement'; that is, there is such a set $A$ with \[\lvert A\cap\{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert \sim \frac{N}{\log_2N}\] as $N\to \infty$.

Let $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ be a set such that $\lvert A\cap \{1,\ldots,N\}\rvert \gg \log N$ for all large $N$. Let $f(n)$ count the number of solutions to $n=p+a$ for $p$ prime and $a\in A$. Is it true that $\limsup f(n)=\infty$?
Erdős [Er50] proved this when $A=\{2^k : k\geq 0\}$. Solved by Chen and Ding [ChDi22].

See also [236].

Let $f:\mathbb{N}\to \{-1,1\}$ be a multiplicative function. Is it true that \[ \lim_{N\to \infty}\frac{1}{N}\sum_{n\leq N}f(n)\] always exists?
Wintner observed that if $f$ can take complex values on the unit circle then the limit need not exist. The answer is yes, as proved by Wirsing [Wi67], and generalised by Halász [Ha68].
OPEN - $100
Let $f(N)$ be the maximum size of $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ such that the sums $a+b+c$ with $a,b,c\in A$ are all distinct (aside from the trivial coincidences). Is it true that \[ f(N)\sim N^{1/3}?\]
Originally asked to Erdős by Bose. Bose and Chowla [BoCh62] provided a construction proving one half of this, namely \[(1+o(1))N^{1/3}\leq f(N).\] The best upper bound known to date is due to Green [Gr01], \[f(N) \leq ((7/2)^{1/3}+o(1))N^{1/3}\] (note that $(7/2)^{1/3}\approx 1.519\cdots$).

More generally, Bose and Chowla conjectured that the maximum size of $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ with all $r$-fold sums distinct (aside from the trivial coincidences) then \[\lvert A\rvert \sim N^{1/r}.\] This is known only for $r=2$ (see [30]).

Additional thanks to: Cedric Pilatte
Let $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ be a finite set of size $N$. Is it true that, for any fixed $t$, there are \[\ll \frac{2^N}{N^{3/2}}\] many $S\subseteq A$ such that $\sum_{n\in S}n=t$?

If we further ask that $\lvert S\rvert=l$ (for any fixed $l$) then is the number of solutions \[\ll \frac{2^N}{N^2},\] with the implied constant independent of $l$ and $t$?

Erdős and Moser proved the first bound with an additional factor of $(\log n)^{3/2}$. This was removed by Sárközy and Szemerédi [SaSz65], thereby answering the first question in the affirmative. Stanley [St80] has shown that this quantity is maximised when $A$ is an arithmetic progression and $t=\tfrac{1}{2}\sum_{n\in A}n$.
Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
Is it true that for any $n,k\geq 1$, if $n+1,\ldots,n+k$ are all composite then there are distinct primes $p_1,\ldots,p_k$ such that $p_i\mid n+i$ for $1\leq i\leq k$?
Note this is trivial when $k\leq 2$. Originally conjectured by Grimm. This is a very difficult problem, since it in particular implies $p_{n+1}-p_n <p_n^{1/2-c}$ for some constant $c>0$, in particular resolving Legendre's conjecture.

Grimm proved that this is true if $k\ll \log n/\log\log n$. Erdős and Selfridge improved this to $k\leq (1+o(1))\log n$. Ramachandra, Shorey, and Tijdeman [RST75] have improved this to \[k\ll\left(\frac{\log n}{\log\log n}\right)^3.\]

Prove that, for any finite set $A\subset\mathbb{N}$, there exist $a,b\in A$ such that \[\mathrm{gcd}(a,b)\leq a/\lvert A\rvert.\]
A conjecture of Graham [Gr70], who also conjectured that (assuming $A$ itself has no common divisor) the only cases where equality is achieved are when $A=\{1,\ldots,n\}$ or $\{L/1,\ldots,L/n\}$ (where $L=\mathrm{lcm}(1,\ldots,n)$) or $\{2,3,4,6\}$.

Proved for all sufficiently large sets (including the sharper version which characterises the case of equality) independently by Szegedy [Sz86] and Zaharescu [Za87].

Proved for all sets by Balasubramanian and Soundararajan [BaSo96].

Let $F(n)$ be the maximum possible size of a subset $A\subseteq\{1,\ldots,N\}$ such that the products $ab$ are distinct for all $a<b$. Is there a constant $c$ such that \[F(n)=\pi(n)+(c+o(1))n^{3/4}(\log n)^{-3/2}?\]

If $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,n\}$ is such that all products $a_1\cdots a_r$ are distinct for $a_1<\cdots <a_r$ then is it true that \[\lvert A\rvert \leq \pi(n)+O(n^{\frac{r+1}{2r}})?\]

Erdős [Er68] proved that there exist some constants $0<c_1\leq c_2$ such that \[\pi(n)+c_1 n^{3/4}(\log n)^{-3/2}\leq F(n)\leq \pi(n)+c_2 n^{3/4}(\log n)^{-3/2}.\] Surprisingly, if we consider the corresponding problem in the reals (so consider the largest $A\subset [1,x]$ such that for any distinct $a,b,c,d\in A$ we have $\lvert ab-cd\rvert \geq 1$) then Alexander proved that $\lvert A\rvert> x/8e$ is possible (disproving an earlier conjecture of Erdős [Er73] that $m=o(x)$). Alexander's construction seems to be unpublished, and I have no idea what it is.

See also [490], [793], and [796].

Additional thanks to: Rishika Agrawal
Let $N\geq 1$. What is the size of the largest $A\subset \{1,\ldots,N\}$ such that $\mathrm{lcm}(a,b)\leq N$ for all $a,b\in A$?

Is it attained by choosing all integers in $[1,(N/2)^{1/2}]$ together with all even integers in $[(N/2)^{1/2},(2N)^{1/2}]$?

Let $g(N)$ denote the size of the largest such $A$. The construction mentioned proves that \[g(N) \geq \left(\tfrac{9}{8}n\right)^{1/2}+O(1).\] Erdős [Er51b] proved $g(N) \leq (4n)^{1/2}+O(1)$. Chen [Ch98] established the asymptotic \[g(N) \sim \left(\tfrac{9}{8}n\right)^{1/2}.\] Chen and Dai [DaCh06] proved that \[g(N)\leq \left(\tfrac{9}{8}n\right)^{1/2}+O\left(\left(\frac{N}{\log N}\right)^{1/2}\log\log N\right).\] In [ChDa07] the same authors prove that, infinitely often, Erdős' construction is not optimal: if $B$ is that construction and $A$ is such that $\lvert A\rvert=g(N)$ then, for infinitely many $N$, \[\lvert A\rvert\geq \lvert B\rvert+t,\] where $t\geq 0$ is defined such that the $t$-fold iterated logarithm of $N$ is in $[0,1)$.
Additional thanks to: Terence Tao
Let $p$ be a prime. Given any finite set $A\subseteq \mathbb{F}_p\backslash \{0\}$, is there always a rearrangement $A=\{a_1,\ldots,a_t\}$ such that all partial sums $\sum_{1\leq k\leq m}a_{k}$ are distinct, for all $1\leq m\leq t$?
A problem of Graham, who proved it when $t=p-1$. A similar conjecture was made for arbitrary abelian groups by Alspach. Such an ordering is often called a valid ordering.

This has been proved for $t\leq 12$ (see Costa and Pellegrini [CoPe20] and the references therein) and for $p-3\leq t\leq p-1$ (see Hicks, Ollis, and Schmitt [HOS19] and the references therein). Kravitz [Kr24] has proved this for \[t \leq \frac{\log p}{\log\log p}.\]

Additional thanks to: Zachary Chase
Let $A,B\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ be such that all the products $ab$ with $a\in A$ and $b\in B$ are distinct. Is it true that \[\lvert A\rvert \lvert B\rvert \ll \frac{N^2}{\log N}?\]
This would be best possible, for example letting $A=[1,N/2]\cap \mathbb{N}$ and $B=\{ N/2<p\leq N: p\textrm{ prime}\}$.

See also [425].

This is true, and was proved by Szemerédi [Sz76].

Additional thanks to: Mehtaab Sawhney
Let $\ell(N)$ be maximal such that in any finite set $A\subset \mathbb{R}$ of size $N$ there exists a Sidon subset $S$ of size $\ell(N)$ (i.e. the only solutions to $a+b=c+d$ in $S$ are the trivial ones). Determine the order of $\ell(N)$.

In particular, is it true that $\ell(N)\sim N^{1/2}$?

Originally asked by Riddell [Ri69]. Erdős noted the bounds \[N^{1/3} \ll \ell(N) \leq (1+o(1))N^{1/2}\] (the upper bound following from the case $A=\{1,\ldots,N\}$). The lower bound was improved to $N^{1/2}\ll \ell(N)$ by Komlós, Sulyok, and Szemerédi [KSS75]. The correct constant is unknown, but it is likely that the upper bound is true, so that $\ell(N)\sim N^{1/2}$.

In [AlEr85] Alon and Erdős make the stronger conjecture that perhaps $A$ can always be written as the union of at most $(1+o(1))N^{1/2}$ many Sidon sets. (This is easily verified for $A=\{1,\ldots,N\}$ using standard constructions of Sidon sets.)

Let $F(k)$ be the minimal $N$ such that if we two-colour $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ there is a set $A$ of size $k$ such that all subset sums $\sum_{a\in S}a$ (for $\emptyset\neq S\subseteq A$) are monochromatic. Estimate $F(k)$.
The existence of $F(k)$ was established by Sanders and Folkman, and it also follows from Rado's theorem. It is commonly known as Folkman's theorem.

Erdős and Spencer [ErSp89] proved that \[F(k) \geq 2^{ck^2/\log k}\] for some constant $c>0$. Balogh, Eberhrad, Narayanan, Treglown, and Wagner [BENTW17] have improved this to \[F(k) \geq 2^{2^{k-1}/k}.\]

If $\mathbb{N}$ is 2-coloured then is there some infinite set $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ such that all finite subset sums \[ \sum_{n\in S}n\] (as $S$ ranges over all non-empty finite subsets of $A$) are monochromatic?
In other words, must some colour class be an IP set. Asked by Graham and Rothschild. See also [531].

Proved by Hindman [Hi74] (for any number of colours).

What is the largest possible subset $A\subseteq\{1,\ldots,N\}$ which contains $N$ such that $(a,b)=1$ for all $a\neq b\in A$?
A problem of Erdős and Graham. They conjecture that this maximum is either $N/p$ (where $p$ is the smallest prime factor of $N$) or it is the number of integers $\{2t: t\leq N/2\textrm{ and }(t,N)=1\}$.
Let $r\geq 3$, and let $f_r(N)$ denote the size of the largest subset of $\{1,\ldots,N\}$ such that no subset of size $r$ has the same pairwise greatest common divisor between all elements. Estimate $f_r(N)$.
Erdős [Er64] proved that \[f_r(N) \leq N^{\frac{3}{4}+o(1)},\] and Abbott and Hanson [AbHa70] improved this exponent to $1/2$. Erdős [Er64] proved the lower bound \[f_3(N) > N^{\frac{c}{\log\log N}}\] for some constant $c>0$, and conjectured this should also be an upper bound.

Erdős writes this is 'intimately connected' with the sunflower problem [20]. Indeed, the conjectured upper bound would follow from the following stronger version of the sunflower problem: estimate the size of the largest set of integers $A$ such that $\omega(n)=k$ for all $n\in A$ and there does not exist $a_1,\ldots,a_r\in A$ and an integer $d$ such that $(a_i,a_j)=d$ for all $i\neq j$ and $(a_i/d,d)=1$ for all $i$. The conjectured upper bound for $f_r(N)$ would follow if the size of such an $A$ must be at most $c_r^k$. The original sunflower proof of Erdős and Rado gives the upper bound $c_r^kk!$.

Let $\epsilon>0$ and $N$ be sufficiently large. Is it true that if $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ has size at least $\epsilon N$ then there must be $a,b,c\in A$ such that \[[a,b]=[b,c]=[a,c],\] where $[a,b]$ denotes the least common multiple?
This is false if we ask for four elements with the same pairwise least common multiple, as shown by Erdős [Er62].
Let $\epsilon>0$ and $N$ be sufficiently large. If $A\subseteq \{1,\ldots,N\}$ has $\lvert A\rvert \geq \epsilon N$ then must there exist $a_1,a_2,a_3\in A$ and distinct primes $p_1,p_2,p_3$ such that \[a_1p_1=a_2p_2=a_3p_3?\]
A positive answer would imply [536].

Erdős describes a construction of Ruzsa which disproves this: consider the set of all squarefree numbers of the shape $p_1\cdots p_r$ where $p_{i+1}>2p_i$ for $1\leq i<r$. This set has positive density, and hence if $A$ is its intersection with $(N/2,N)$ then $\lvert A\rvert \gg N$ for all large $N$. Suppose now that $p_1a_1=p_2a_2=p_3a_3$ where $a_i\in A$ and $p_1,p_2,p_3$ are distinct primes. Without loss of generality we may assume that $a_2>a_3$ and hence $p_2<p_3$, and so since $p_2p_3\mid a_1\in A$ we must have $2<p_3/p_2$. On the other hand $p_3/p_2=a_2/a_3\in (1,2)$, a contradiction.

Additional thanks to: Zach Hunter
Let $r\geq 2$ and suppose that $A\subseteq\{1,\ldots,N\}$ is such that, for any $m$, there are at most $r$ solutions to $m=pa$ where $p$ is prime and $a\in A$. Give the best possible upper bound for \[\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n}.\]
Erdős observed that \[\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n}\sum_{p\leq N}\frac{1}{p}\leq r\sum_{m\leq N^2}\frac{1}{m}\ll r\log N,\] and hence \[\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n} \ll r\frac{\log N}{\log\log N}.\] See also [536] and [537].
Let $h(n)$ be such that, for any set $A\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ of size $n$, the set \[\left\{ \frac{a}{(a,b)}: a,b\in A\right\}\] has size at least $h(n)$. Estimate $h(n)$.
Erdős and Szemerédi proved that \[n^{1/2} \ll h(n) \ll n^{1-c}\] for some constant $c>0$.
Is it true that if $A\subseteq \mathbb{Z}/N\mathbb{Z}$ has size $\gg N^{1/2}$ then there exists some non-empty $S\subseteq A$ such that $\sum_{n\in S}n\equiv 0\pmod{N}$?
A conjecture of Erdős and Heilbronn. The answer is yes, proved by Szemerédi [Sz70] (in fact for arbitrary finite abelian groups).

Erdős speculated that perhaps the correct threshold is $(2N)^{1/2}$; this is also a conjecture of Selfridge, and has been proved when $N$ is prime by Balandraud [Ba12].

Let $a_1,\ldots,a_p$ be (not necessarily distinct) residues modulo $p$, such that there exists some $r$ so that if $S\subseteq [p]$ is non-empty and \[\sum_{i\in S}a_i\equiv 0\pmod{p}\] then $\lvert S\rvert=r$. Must there be at most two distinct residues amongst the $a_i$?
A question of Graham.
Is it true that if $A\subseteq\{1,\ldots,n\}$ is a set such that $[a,b]>n$ for all $a\neq b$, where $[a,b]$ is the least common multiple, then \[\sum_{a\in A}\frac{1}{a}\leq \frac{31}{30}.\] Is it true that there must be $\gg n$ many $m\leq n$ which do not divide any $a\in A$?
The first bound is best possible as $A=\{2,3,5\}$ demonstrates.

Resolved by Schinzel and Szekeres [ScSz59] who proved the answer to the first question is yes and the answer to the second is no, and in fact there are examples with at most $n/(\log n)^c$ many such $m$, for some constant $c>0$.

In [Er73] Erdős further speculates that in fact \[\sum_{a\in A}\frac{1}{a}\leq 1+o(1),\] where the $o(1)$ term $\to 0$ as $n\to \infty$.

See also [784].

Define $f(N)$ be the minimal $k$ such that the following holds: if $G$ is an abelian group of size $N$ and $A\subseteq G$ is a random set of size $k$ then, with probability $\geq 1/2$, all elements of $G$ can be written as $\sum_{x\in S}x$ for some $S\subseteq A$. Is \[f(N) \leq \log_2 N+o(\log\log N)?\]
Erdős and Rényi [ErRe65] proved that \[f(N) \leq \log_2N+O(\log\log N).\] Erdős believed improving this to $o(\log\log N)$ is impossible.
Is it true that if $A\subset \mathbb{R}^2$ is a set of $n$ points such that every subset of $3$ points determines $3$ distinct distances (i.e. $A$ has no isosceles triangles) then $A$ must determine at least $f(n)n$ distinct distances, for some $f(n)\to \infty$?
In [Er73] Erdős attributes this problem (more generally in $\mathbb{R}^k$) to himself and Davies. In [Er97e] he does not mention Davis, but says this problem was investigated by himself, Füredi, Ruzsa, and Pach.

In [Er73] Erdős says it is not even known in $\mathbb{R}$ whether $f(n)\to \infty$. Straus has observed that if $2^k\geq n$ then there exist $n$ points in $\mathbb{R}^k$ which contain no isosceles triangle and determine at most $n-1$ distances.

See also [656].

Fix some constant $C>0$ and let $n$ be large. Let $A\subseteq \{2,\ldots,n\}$ be such that $(a,b)=1$ for all $a\neq b\in A$ and $\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n}\leq C$.

What choice of such an $A$ minimises the number of integers $m\leq n$ not divisible by any $a\in A$? Is this minimised by letting $n\geq q_1>q_2>\cdots$ be the consecutive primes in decreasing order and choosing $A=\{q_1,\ldots,q_k\}$ where $k$ is maximal such that \[\sum_{i=1}^k\frac{1}{q_i}\leq C?\]

Let $C>0$ be some constant and $n$ be large. If $A\subseteq\{1,\ldots,n\}$ has $\sum_{n\in A}\frac{1}{n}\leq C$ then is there some $c$ (which may depend on $C$) such that \[\{ m\leq n : a\nmid m\textrm{ for all }a\in A\}\] has size $\geq n/(\log n)^{c}$?
An example of Schinzel and Szekeres [ScSz59] shows that this would be best possible (up to the value of $c$).

See also [542].

Let $A,B\subseteq \mathbb{N}$ be infinite sets such that $A+B$ contains all large integers. Let $A(x)=\lvert A\cap [1,x]\rvert$ and similarly for $B(x)$. Is it true that if $A(x)B(x)\sim x$ then \[A(x)B(x)-x\to \infty\] as $x\to \infty$?
A conjecture of Erdős and Danzer. Such sets $A$ and $B$ (with all large integers in $A+B$ and $A(x)B(x)\sim x$) are called exact additive complements. Danzer [Da64] proved that exact additive complements exist.

The answer is yes, proved by Sárközy and Szemerédi [SaSz94]. Ruzsa [Ru17] has constructed, for any function $w(x)\to \infty$, such a pair of sets with \[A(x)B(x)-x<w(x)\] for infinitely many $x$.

Let $\epsilon>0$. Is there some set $A\subset \mathbb{N}$ of density $>1-\epsilon$ such that $a_1\cdots a_r=b_1\cdots b_s$ with $a_i,b_j\in A$ can only hold when $r=s$?

Similarly, can one always find a set $A\subset\{1,\ldots,N\}$ with this property of size $\geq (1-o(1))N$?

An example of such a set with density $1/4$ is given by the integers $\equiv 2\pmod{4}$.

Selfridge constructed such a set with density $1/e-\epsilon$ for any $\epsilon>0$: let $p_1<\cdots<p_k$ be a sequence of large consecutive primes such that \[\sum_{i=1}^k\frac{1}{p_i}<1<\sum_{i=1}^{k+1}\frac{1}{p_i},\] and let $A$ be those integers divisible by exactly one of $p_1,\ldots,p_k$.

For the second question the set of integers with a prime factor $>N^{1/2}$ give an example of a set with size $\geq (\log 2)N$. Erdős could improve this constant slightly.

Additional thanks to: Rishika Agrawal
Let $g(n)$ be maximal such that given any set $A\subset \mathbb{R}$ with $\lvert A\rvert=n$ there exists some $B\subseteq A$ of size $\lvert B\rvert\geq g(n)$ such that $b_1+b_2\not\in A$ for all $b_1\neq b_2\in B$.

Estimate $g(n)$.

A conjecture of Erdős and Moser. Klarner proved $g(n) \gg \log n$ (indeed, a greedy construction suffices). Choi [Ch71] proved $g(n) \ll n^{2/5+o(1)}$. The current best bounds known are \[(\log n)^{1+c} \ll g(n) \ll \exp(\sqrt{\log n})\] for some constant $c>0$, the lower bound due to Sanders [Sa21] and the upper bound due to Ruzsa [Ru05].
Let $f(n)$ be maximal such that if $B\subset (2n,4n)\cap \mathbb{N}$ there exists some $C\subset (n,2n)\cap \mathbb{N}$ such that $c_1+c_2\not\in B$ for all $c_1\neq c_2\in C$ and $\lvert C\rvert+\lvert B\rvert \geq f(n)$.

Estimate $f(n)$. In particular is it true that $f(n)\leq n^{1/2+o(1)}$?

A conjecture of Choi [Ch71], who proved $f(n) \ll n^{3/4}$.
Let $h(n)$ be maximal such that if $A\subseteq \mathbb{Z}$ with $\lvert A\rvert=n$ then there is $B\subseteq A$ with $\lvert B\rvert \geq h(n)$ such that if $a_1+\cdots+a_r=b_1+\cdots+b_s$ with $a_i,b_i\in B$ then $r=s$.

Estimate $h(n)$.

Straus [St66] proved $h(n) \ll n^{1/2}$. Erdős noted the bound $h(n)\gg n^{1/3}$ and claimed that Choi had proved $h(n) \gg (n\log n)^{1/3}$, although I cannot find such a paper.

See also [186].

Let $l(n)$ be maximal such that if $A\subset\mathbb{Z}$ with $\lvert A\rvert=n$ then there exists some $B\subseteq A$ with $\lvert B\rvert \geq l(n)$ such that there are no solutions to \[a_1=a_2+\cdots+a_r\] with $a_i\in B$ all distinct.

Estimate $l(n)$. In particular, is it true that $l(n)n^{-1/2}\to \infty$? Is it true that $l(n)< n^{1-c}$ for some $c>0$?

Erdős observed that $l(n)\geq (n/2)^{1/2}$, which Choi improved to $l(n)>(1+c)n^{1/2}$ for some $c>0$. Erdős thought he could prove $l(n)=o(n)$ but had 'difficulties in reconstructing [his] proof'.
Let $g(n)$ be minimal such that there exists $A\subseteq \{0,\ldots,n\}$ of size $g(n)$ with $\{0,\ldots,n\}\subseteq A+A$. Estimate $g(n)$. In particular is it true that $g(n)\sim 2n^{1/2}$?
A problem of Rohrbach, who proved \[(2^{1/2}+c)n^{1/2} \leq g(n) \leq 2n^{1/2}\] for some small constant $c>0$.
Let $f(n)$ be maximal such that in any $A\subset \mathbb{Z}$ with $\lvert A\rvert=n$ there exists some sum-free subset $B\subseteq A$ with $\lvert B\rvert \geq f(n)$, so that there are no solutions to \[a+b=c\] with $a,b,c\in B$. Estimate $f(n)$.
Erdős gave a simple proof that shows $f(n) \geq n/3$. The best known bounds are \[\frac{n}{3}+2\leq f(n) \leq \frac{n}{3}+o(n).\] The lower bound is due to Bourgain [Bo97] and the upper bound is due to Eberhard, Green, and Manners [EGM14].